‘Back to the drawing board’ over Sidmouth future vision

PUBLISHED: 14:32 07 January 2011

Part of the Sidmouth contingent at Tuesday's LDF protest (l-r: Graham Cooper, Mike Edgecumbe, Robert Crick and Sid Vale Association chairman Rev Handel Bennett

Part of the Sidmouth contingent at Tuesday's LDF protest (l-r: Graham Cooper, Mike Edgecumbe, Robert Crick and Sid Vale Association chairman Rev Handel Bennett

Archant

CAMPAIGNING Sidmouth residents have scored a major victory after public pressure forced a rethink over plans to build 250 new homes and create 12 acres of employment land in the town over the next 15 years.

CAMPAIGNING Sidmouth residents have scored a major victory after public pressure forced a rethink over plans to build 250 new homes and create 12 acres of employment land in the town over the next 15 years.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) will go back to the drawing board over a blueprint for the region until 2026 that called for up to 16,400 new homes across the district. Plans saw more than 100 campaigners descend on EDDC’s Knowle headquarters in protest during a public consultation.

EDDC revealed this week it will hold an ‘exhaustive review’ that is expected to lead to a ‘significant reduction’ in estimates when planners report back in the summer.

The move has been welcomed by Sidmouth organisations whose members were among those to protest against the plans in November.

“The news from EDDC was in keeping with the season of goodwill,” said The Reverend Handel Bennett, chairman of the Sid Vale Association.

He said he was pleased EDDC had taken notice of “the voice of the local community” and a threat to Sidmouth and East Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been reduced as a result.

“The welcome reduction in the housing target is only common sense. The need for affordable housing must be addressed through brown field sites, and the asset of our green environment, on which the economy of our Regency resort depends, must continue to be protected.” said Rev Bennett.

The Vision Group for Sidmouth chairman Robert Crick has urged all residents to discuss the town’s future in every local organisation, and to put their views forward “urgently and vigorously”, during the review.

EDDC says estimates should be revised downwards following the latest employment trends and public opinion.

Council leader Sara Randall Johnson said: “We wanted to hear from as many people as possible. I also said we would listen to and act on what they told us. We’ve taken heed of their concerns and their views are going to make a difference.”

EDDC plans suggested 250 homes be added to the 470 committed to or built in Sidmouth between 2006 and 2009.


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